THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 19 December 2018 — The Government of the Kingdom of Denmark is contributing DKK 600,000 towards the formation and operation of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ (OPCW) team to identify the perpetrators of the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic pursuant to a decision of the Fourth Special Session of the Conference of States Parties.
The contribution was formalised with an agreement signed by the OPCW Director-General, H.E. Mr Fernando Arias, and Denmark’s Permanent Representative to the OPCW, H.E. Ambassador Mr Jens-Otto Horslund, on 19 December.
The Director-General expressed: “Identification of perpetrators is consistent with the mandate we received from the Conference of the States Parties and will advance the existing endeavours to tackle the re-emergence of chemical weapons.”
Ambassador Horslund remarked: “Attributing responsibility for use of chemical weapons in Syria is essential in fighting impunity and preventing future use. Denmark is proud to support the work of the OPCW in achieving a world free of chemical weapons.”
The OPCW is currently assembling a team of experts and setting up procedures towards the implementation of the Decision on Addressing the Threat from Chemical Weapons Use adopted by the Fourth Special Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention in June 2018.
On 27 June 2018, the Fourth Special Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) adopted a Decision on Addressing the Threat from Chemical Weapons Use. The decision was brought forward by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and supported by 30 countries.
The decision called upon the OPCW Technical Secretariat to put in place arrangements “to identify the perpetrators of the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic by identifying and reporting on all information potentially relevant to the origin of those chemical weapons in those instances in which the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission determines or has determined that use or likely use occurred, and cases for which the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism has not issued a report”.
The decision further affirmed that whenever chemical weapons use occurs on the territory of a State Party, “those who were the perpetrators, organisers, sponsors or otherwise involved should be identified” and it underscored “the added value of the Secretariat conducting an independent investigation of an alleged use of chemical weapons with a view to facilitating universal attribution of all chemical weapons attacks”, if requested by a State Party.
As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW, with its 193 Member States, oversees the global endeavour to permanently eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997, it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.
Over 96% of all chemical weapon stockpiles declared by possessor States have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.